Date:    Friday, October 20, 2006 – Sunday, October 22, 2006
Place: Hilton Memphis
939 Ridge Lake Boulevard
Memphis, TN 38120


OCTOBER 20 - 22, 2006

        Meeting “New” Relatives
                  Renewing Family Ties
                          Learning About Genealogy
                                            Jewish Immigration
                                                               Southern Jews
                                                                        Igumen Connection
A Wonderful Atmosphere of Congeniality
          “From Dokshitsy to America, Kabakoff Family Reunion” T-Shirts
                    Keepsake Booklets
                             More Bonding
                                       Good Food
                                                Professional Taping, Photography, Videos
                                                         Goodie Bags
                                                                            Genealogy Badges
                                                                                     A Video Montage

As stated on the opening page of our Reunion Booklet:

Good times were had by all! This was a wonderful experience which will not soon be forgotten. There was nothing but smiles and happiness and bonding and love which radiated from all attending. The many who came up to us with their positive feedback and “thank you” made all of our efforts in making this a reality well worthwhile. But it was more than that. It showed us how much our Kabakoff Family wanted to reach out to one another, and how much they really cared for each other. This wasn't just a weekend with Kabakoffs getting together. It was realizing that “Families are important.”

Much credit must be given to the Dynamic Two, Barbara Kabakoff and Judy Peiser, from our host city of Memphis. Barbara did an absolutely fantastic job in securing the Hilton and making arrangements with them locally, and she and Judy organized and coordinated our Friday Gathering. Each Kabakoff relative, arriving from all parts of the country, was greeted by Barbara as she handed out packets, T-shirts, and badges, and made us out-of-towners feel welcome. Together with their Memphis family, they also provided refreshments and goodie bags. So a special thanks also goes out to: Dot Bilsky, Lynn Balkin Butcher, Sara Bernice “Necie” Kabakoff Conroy, Verni Gerber, Sherry Kapell Kraar, Joe Lowenthal, Beverly Hutkin Rauch, Susan Gruenwald Rosen, Bobbie Hutkin Shainberg, Elaine Kapell Skopp, Sarah Kapell Slovis, Robin Kabakoff Snyder, and Ellen Ziskind. And thanks also to two Eugene, OR cousins who helped out, Charlie and Audi Fleishman.

Judy Peiser, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Southern Folklore, and her crew did a fantastic job in providing the audiotaping of presentations, and banquet photography and videotaping. Many thanks to Judy and her crew, who used the same professionalism as when they produced media programs, events, publications, and festivals for audiences worldwide. They recorded this wonderful event so that we (and future generations) can relive and share our experience.

Special thanks go out to Michael and Rena Friedman who took charge of the kosher meals, services, and davening agenda. They also invited Brian and me to their Shabbat services and dinner on Friday. Another wonderful Kabakoff family we got to know.

Our Saturday presentations were informative, educational, and entertaining:

Eric Kabakoff started our Saturday off with a little fun by having a Kabakoff Trivia Contest. That put everybody in a festive and genealogical mood. Especially happy were the groups that won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place!

Brian Burg, an attorney and educator with a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Southern California and a J.D. in Law, gave a PowerPoint presentation in which he detailed the story behind our Kabakoff odyssey as well as an overview of genealogical research.

Rosalie Burg, who has an M.S. in Counseling, and is an educator and counselor, presented her research on the history of Dokshitz and what it was like during the time our families lived there. She included historical photos of Dokshitz as well as photos showing what it looks like today. Special thanks to Joe Polliack, who lives in South Africa, for providing the current-day photos from his recent trip to Dokshitz.

Our thanks and appreciation go out to the following presenters who helped make our all-day program a success:

Ken Friedman, who has a Ph.D. in Genetics, did a PowerPoint presentation on genes, genetics, Jewish diseases, and the role DNA can play in answering genealogical questions.

Judy Peiser, who has an MS from the University of Memphis, and is the co-founder of the Center for Southern Folklore, is a natural storyteller who painted a picture of Jewish life in the South through her stories.

Marvin Kabakoff, a graduate of Brandeis University who has a Ph.D in French History and now reviews documents for the National Archives, shared his research on Jewish immigration to America. It was interesting to learn that many Jews settled in small towns, rather than large cities, and continued the peddler mode of earning a living.

Bernard Kabakow, a physician who earned his MD from the University of Vermont, presented the Kabakoff research of his cousin, Edward Rabinovich, who lives in Minsk, Belarus.

The Saturday Banquet started off with a video montage, accompanied by Jewish klezmer music. It was breathtaking to see relatives from all our clans and from all generations reflected up on the big screen. Thanks to all of you who sent in family pictures, Brian was able to put this montage together, which included about 130 of your photos.

There was much interaction both at the beginning and the end of the banquet as people flitted about from table to table reuniting and/or meeting new family members. The meal itself was delicious (we shared both the chicken and the salmon entrees). Afterwards, Brian entertained us with his singing of Bei Mir Bist Du Schön; several family members shared interesting family anecdotes; and Rosalie presented historic trivia of the year our oldest attendee—Sam Faiman—was born (1917). We are especially grateful for the kind words and gifts presented to us by Barbara Kabakoff, Judy Peiser, and Michael Friedman. It was a splendid evening!

Special thanks also goes out to Hinda Shapiro Blumberg, who resides in South Africa. She sent us letters, in which she wrote beautiful stories of our Dokshitz family. She also sent photos, some of which were included in the video montage, as well as the presentation on Dokshitz. In our booklet, I also included one of her photos of the homes and tannery business of Alter Tzuchman and a Kabakoff relative in Dokshitz, together with a description she wrote in an email dated September 4, 2006.

A very special thanks is owed to Charlie Fleishman, the creator of our Web site. Because of him, all of you had been kept informed about the Reunion prior to last weekend. Now we will continue to make this site a source for information and a way for all of us to communicate.

We had known for many years that a majority of the Kabakoffs who came from Dokshitz settled in the South, particularly the Memphis area. We also knew that there was communication back in the 20's and 30's between the Memphis and New Haven groups. However, that was a long time ago. What about now? We had been saying for years that we should have a Kabakoff reunion. However, it wasn't until Menachem Etkin in Israel (upon receiving Brian's database) said that now would be a good time to have a reunion that this whole thing got started. So, we thank you, Menachem, for being our inspiration.

And last but not least, a heartfelt thanks to all of you who joined us and made this Reunion so very special. You let us know, both in person and in writing, how much you enjoyed yourselves and what a meaningful experience the Kabakoff Reunion was for you. You have shown us the real meaning of family.

Your booklet has the address, phone number, and/or email address of all who attended our Kabakoff Family Reunion. Now that we have bonded as a family, let's not lose that wonderful feeling we discovered or rediscovered. We are the Dokshitz descendants of Shepsel or Hershel, and before them, of Leyba. We've come a long way since coming to America from a little shtetl called Dokshitz. Let's keep in touch with one another and keep that feeling alive!

Rosalie and Brian
October 29, 2006

For further information regarding the reunion or the Kabakoff family history,
contact Brian Neil Burg.

copyright© 2022 Charlie Fleishman